First, you need an exciting, original movie worth caring about, worth topping. Second, a filmmaker who’s more confident from their original success, with a bigger canvas to play with. Third, and most important, a really great sequel doesn’t try telling a wholly original story. It’s comfortable in the fact that its a sequel – instead it tries to retell the original story with a little more finesse, more skill, and with the emotional stakes raised.
Star Trek into Darkness is a truly great sequel. It’s the same simple story of the first; a story of growing up, taking responsibility for yourself and others, of balancing your head (Spock) and your heart (Kirk) in times of crisis. Only it’s so much better than the original (fine, ok, original reboot) on every level.
This is superb filmmaking. The ensemble cast feel like a real crew, bouncing off each other like life long friends. Every moment, every action set piece, drives the story forward. For Trekkers, there’s a lot of care taken to acknowledge and playfully rewrite more of its folklore. And all the while you can feel JJ Abrams is more confident in his storytelling, as well he bloody should be.
Ok, yeah, there are moments that don’t work. Hell, there are moments that make no damn sense at all, but they fly by like so much space debris. Just enjoy the ride.
This is a Hollywood blockbuster done right from a director at the top of his game. See it as soon as you can.